This is the last edition of Thursday’s Notes for the 20-21 Academic Year. Good luck with the grading, and I hope everyone gets some down- and recovery time this summer!


Sophia Hejran (BA 21, CW) has been accepted to the MFA program in fiction at San Diego State University.

Xavier Alexandre (BA 21, CW, fiction) has been selected as the Extraordinary Graduating Senior by the College of Humanities. A gay first-generation Chicano, Xavier is a former foster child who overcame food & housing instability to land on the Dean’s List twice in the past year. While at CSUN, he earned the Certificate of Academic Excellence from the Resilient Scholars Program, and he was selected for the Conrad Hilton Foundation Internship for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. For Summer 2021, he has been selected for both the Tiffany Haddish Internship for Foster Youth and the Disney Internship for Live Action Original Series. He plans to work in the entertainment industry and as a social advocate for foster youth of color.

Steven Bockover & Kelly Moreno (BA 12, CW, Fiction) are living happily together in Washington, DC. Steven serves as an Excel Teacher at Francis C. Hammond Middle School in the Alexandria City Public School District. Kelly works with the National Network to End Domestic Violence, advising various anti-violence advocacy programs across the nation. While at CSUN, Steven & Kelly were two of the four founding board members for the Northridge Creative Writing Circle in 2011-2012. They also served on the editorial staff of the Northridge Review.
Sam Bowers (BA 21, CW, Fiction) has been accepted, with a scholarship, to the Los Angeles Review of Books Summer Publishing Workshop. While at CSUN, Sam served as Co-President of the Northridge Creative Writing Circle, initiating a new student-led workshops & a student-centered reading series. He also served as an Editor for the Northridge Review. In Fall 2021, he plans to apply to MFA Programs in Creative Writing, with an aim toward a dual career in publishing & editing and as a novelist.
Joelena Despard (BA 21, CW, fiction) has been accepted into all four of the MFA programs to which she applied: the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Savannah College of Art & Design & the School of Visual Arts in NYC. CCA has offered her a $12,500 scholarship, and SCAD has offered her a $9,000 fellowship, along with honors placement. A first-generation Chicana who overcame both a learning disability & housing instability, Joelena earned placement on the Dean’s List while completing her degree. Soon she’ll decide which graduate program offer to accept, with plans to pursue a career as an illustrator & graphic novelist. 
Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger (MA 20, CW, fiction) has been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Bowling Green University in Kentucky, and she was placed on the shortlist waitlist at Notre Dame University. Bowling Green University offered her full funding with tuition remission, a $12,000 annual stipend, and a position as Teaching Associate. A returning student, while at CSUN, Kelly led a five-student team from her 490 Senior Seminar course to write a collaborative YA speculative fiction novel, The Portal, which has been accepted for paid publication by Dark Owl Press. Her own short story, also developed in 490 Senior Seminar, was published in Bards & Sages Quarterly. In addition, she won the Association of Retired Faculty Award for her MA Thesis Project, The Malmos, an in-progress science fiction novel. Kelly has accepted the offer from Bowling Green University, with plans to pursue a dual career as an academic & novelist.
Tadeh Kennedy (BA 21, CW, fiction) has been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing Program at San Francisco State University. In addition, he was shortlist waitlisted for the MFA program at Portland State University. SFSU offered him an initial $5,000 fellowship. A first-generation mixed race Armenian American, Tadeh has accepted the offer from SFSU, with plans to pursue a dual career as an academic & novelist.
Asusena Lopez (BA 21, CW, poetry) has been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing Program at both the University of Chicago & the University of California, Irvine. The University of Chicago offered her 50% funding, and UC Irvine offered her a full scholarship with tuition remission. A Latina from the valley, Asusena has accepted the offer from UC Irvine, with plans to pursue a dual career as an academic & poet.
Travis Rand (BA 21, Philosophy Major/CW Minor) has been accepted into four of the eight MFA programs to which he applied: Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Concordia St. Paul University, Hamline University in St. Paul, and Minnesota State University. Travis has accepted the offer from Hamline University, with plans to pursue a dual career as an academic & novelist.
Aja Russell (BA 21, CW, fiction) has been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing Program at both the University of South Dakota & San Francisco State University. SFSU offered her full tuition remission. A bisexual mixed race woman of Hawaiian descent, Aja has accepted the offer from SFSU, with plans to pursue a dual career as an academic and as a personal essayist & memoirist.
August “Auggie” Samie (BA 10, CW, Fiction) has been hired as Adjunct Assistant Professor for the History Department at Lewis University in Chicago. A gay first-generation immigrant & Persian American, Auggie earned his PhD, magna cum laude, in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. While at CSUN, he won both the Dean’s Scholar Award & the Wolfson Scholar Award and served as the first gay & first Persian President of Sigma Tau Delta.
Jake Tillis (BA 21, CW, Fiction) has been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing Program at California Institute of the Arts. CalArts offered him a $20,000 scholarship. Rising from a working-class background, while at CSUN, Jake had three short stories published in the Northridge Review in three successive semesters. He has accepted the offer from CalArts, where he plans to work across the disciplines in the arts program and to pursue a career as a writer for film & TV production.
Audrey Thacker presented her paper,A Racist, an Antisemite, and a COVID-Denier All Walk into a (Virtual) Classroom…: Pitfalls and Plusses of Teaching Multi-Ethnic Literature in Our Current America—from a Distance,” at the annual conference of MELUS (Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States), held virtually this year.
Colleen Tripp‘s multi-course, multi-semester podcast series for the University Library’s annual exhibit, “LA on Film and Record,” is mentioned in the library’s spring newsletter! Go English!

Martin Pousson has been named one of five finalists from across the campus for the 2020-2021 CSUN Faculty Student Success Champion Award, nominated by students & selected by the Matador SUCCESS Planning Committee with the Office of Student Success.
Irene Clark‘s article “Critical Thinking, Identity, and Performance: Insights from Neuropsychological Research” has been published in a special edition of the journal Pedagogy, which focuses on “Reading and Writing in the Era of Fake News.”